Jesse Powell, CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, in a response to Ukraine’s Vice minister’s request, tweeted that the platform would not freeze the accounts of Russian clients without having a legal compulsion to do so.
The chief exec replied to Mykhailo Fedorov’s tweet saying that he understands the reason behind the request to suspend these accounts in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis. But declined the minister’s plea to prevent its Russian users from trading citing the latter should be issued such requirement beforehand.
In a series of tweets, Powell noted,
“That requirement could come from your own government, as we have seen in Canada, in response to protests, bank runs and attempts to flee the country. It could come from foreign states, like the US, as a weapon to turn the Russian populace against its government’s policies.”
Reiterating that the vast majority of crypto holders on Kraken are anti-war, Powell went on to state that it goes against the very nature of decentralization as “Bitcoin is the embodiment of libertarian values, which strongly favor individualism and human rights.”
The Kraken top boss concluded his statement by quoting, ” if we were going to voluntarily freeze financial accounts of residents of countries unjustly attacking and provoking violence around the world, step 1 would be to freeze all US accounts. As a practical matter, that’s not really a viable business option for us.”
On 28 February Fedorov who is also Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation urged all major crypto exchanges to block the wallet addresses of all Russian users irrespective of being politicians or ordinary citizens.
Major crypto exchanges have followed Kraken’s suit
As per the latest development, Coinbase too joined the list of the major trading platforms refusing to impose a full restriction despite a request from the Ukrainian official. The platform in its statement said, “We will not institute a blanket ban on all Coinbase transactions involving Russian addresses.”
Even Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, went on record to state that it has no plans to unilaterally freeze accounts in Russia. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who has several times testified before the senate about blockchain technology has remained unresponsive so far.